No matter how you look at it, Avery will spark this team when he comes back. It's just the style he plays... even if he doesn't carry the team or improve it dramatically when he comes back, he's bound to spark it for a few games.
Thats true, he'll bring energy to us, and take some from the other team. He will take away attention from JJ.
My point was just that last year we kind of where a flawed team. This was pre Ortmayers return, Callahans promotion and the trade for Avery. It was not only Avery. While he still played a major role.
Before Ortmayer returned neither our 2nd, 3rd and 4th line worked. When Orts came back our 3rd line became allot better, Prucha-Cullen-Ortmayer was formed. Callahan later replaced Orts, that didn't mean a fundamental upgrade in team balance on that line, they worked before Cally too, but it was still a little upgrade. But our 2nd line still really struggled, maybe they didn't suck all that much, but they just didn't have any balance, never won any momentum for us ect.
Then when we got Avery we got a 2nd line that got allot of attention from the other team, and got allot more balance on that line too. They had some up and downs, but many nights they really came through for us.
However, IMO the most important aspect with the trade for Avery wasn't his individual impact, it was how all the other pices fell in place when we got him, Orts returned and Cally was promoted.
I think we are in the same position with this team, as we was before Orts returned, Cally was promoted and we traded for Avery.
The problem IMO is that I don't think Avery will have the same impact this time, as he had the last time. I could defenitly be wrong, confidence/pressure/chemistry -- all that could improve in a hurry with some luck and time. Suddenly Gomez and JJ clicks ect.
But I am afraid that it won't, I just don't see the natrual balance come through as it did last season.
Its very hard for Slats to make a trade with the cap situation we are in. And it would defenitly mean some tough decisions on the players we do got, when everyone is healty one of Prucha/Cally/Hossa/Avery/Straka suddenly is bond for the 4th line, as it looks right now atleast...
Though, there are some options that I think Slats could explore, while it will be tough.
One would be to get a center for Jagr (!). Kip Miller is a UFA!!! Nah just kidding. But, David Vyborny for example have had a slow start in CBJ, makes 2.2m and is a UFA after this season... Vyborny, Lang and Ruziska, are Jagrs centers and best linemates through time for the Czech Rep; not Straka or Rucinsky for example, Straka had some history with JJ, but Rucinsky had none. Lang can't be a option due to his contract, 2 y * 4 m. But for many Czech Nat coaches David Vyborny was always the first option to center Jagr, and they defenitly got allot of chemistry together. Basically, for thoose who don't know him, he is like Straka, but a natrual center with a little more top end finnishing skills. There are also a few other guys besides Vyborny, but not all that many. Vlac Prospal for example could be one...
With him we would get allot more options, for example;
The biggest impact it would have IMO is that it would free up Gomez for the 2nd line...
Another trade option that I see is to make better use of Gomez. I think he is a bit underrated so far, he is a great offensive tool; not complete but very hard to shut down in the right enviorment. And leave Jagr in a not so perfect situation. That trade would have to be a allot bigger trade. It would be one for the future too though, compared to a Vyborny deal who only would be for 1 year.
There is defenitly some playertypes whos value skyrockets if they get to play with someone like Gomez, who on a shift by shift basis can take the puck up and establish pressure in the attacking zone, and who are good playmakers like Scott.
For example, established guys like Dustin Penner, Jonathan Cheechoo, Milan Michalek, Alexander Frolov among others. Guys who got all their strengths in the attacking zone, while not so much on the rush ect. Penner and Cheechoo pretty much suck on the rush...
Then there are younger players in the same mold, like a Steve Bernier or Bobby Ryan among many others for example.
Trades for thoose guys would be much more expensive, and we would have to include players like Prucha and assets like Montoya for example in deals for them.
But it could defenitly be a option too IMO. For example, lets pretend that we could get Dustin Penner from EDM for Prucha and Montoya. Penner is extremely strong on the puck down low, and once he gets it under controll there its really hard to take it away from him. We could then IMO create a 1a and a 1b line; 1a. Hossa-Straka-Jagr
Our 1st wouldn't be able to carry us. Teams would still have to focus on JJ, get the right D's out on the ice at the same time as him. But a line of Penner-Gomez-Shanny would also be really tough to play against. They wouldn't set the world on fire offensivly, and score like a great 1st where everyone gets 85+ pts, but they would win allot of games for us.